Noida: They have been discharged and are fine but under watch, said officials (File)
Wrong coronavirus test results endangered 35 people in Noida, who were forced to spend three days in the COVID-19 ward of a hospital after private labs allegedly botched up their virus reports.
The private labs have been sent notice by the Noida administration and one lab has been charged in a First Information Report filed by the police.
Investigations of the Noida Health Department have revealed that these 35 people had consulted private doctors on complaints of mild fever, cough and cold. They were reportedly advised to take coronavirus tests and for that, they went to private labs.
The test results came out positive for all 35, after which they were sent to government isolation facilities. When their samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology, all 35 tested negative. This alarmed health officials.
They have been discharged and are fine but under watch, said officials.
Investigations suggest there were lapses in sample collection by private lab employees. They allegedly did not maintain the samples in optimum temperature, which led to inaccurate results.
"Six labs have come to our notice over lapses in COVID-19 tests. An FIR has been filed against one and we have sent notice to the others," said Noida Chief Medical Officer Deepak Ohri.
He said Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines for testing were violated.
Mr Ohri said action would be taken based on how the labs responded to the notice. "Some of these labs are not even authorized to carry out COVID-19 tests, but they were doing it for money," he alleged.
The labs, not registered with ICMR, allegedly charged Rs 4,500 to 5,000 for each test.
Noida has seen a surge in virus cases and even regulated traffic from Delhi to check the spread of the infection.